Posted on January 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
For yet a third year I have kept my tradition of starting the New Year with a visit to Sub-Saharan Africa—a region that truly offers great promise! As the world economy has remained focused on the crisis of the advanced economies, Africa has quietly forged ahead with strong growth led by a vibrant private sector and surging foreign investment. Over the past decade Sub-Saharan Africa has posted growth averaging 5.6 percent a year.
The countries of East Africa have done especially well. So what better place to begin my travels this year than in Kenya, which has emerged as one of the region’s “frontier economies”—countries whose recent performance is propelling them toward middle-income status.
Filed under: Africa, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: Africa, business, development, fiscal policy, growth, iMFdirect, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, jobs, Kenya, regional integration, Sub-Saharan Africa | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 18, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Era Dabla-Norris and Kalpana Kochar
(Version in Español)
The era of remarkable growth in many emerging market economies fueled by cheap money and high commodity prices may very well be coming to an end.
The slowdown reflects not just inadequate global demand, but also structural factors that are rendering previous growth engines less effective, and the fact that economic “good times” reduced the incentives to implement further reforms to enhance productivity. With the end of the period of favorable global financing and trade conditions, the time is nigh for governments to make strong efforts to increase productivity—the essential foundation of sustainable growth and rising living standards. Continue reading
Filed under: Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: emerging markets, employment, financial markets, Financial regulation, financial supervision, growth, iMFdirect, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, Labor, productivity | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 5, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Jerry Schiff
(Versions in 日本語l and 中文)
Discussions in Japan of the “three arrows” of Abenomics—the three major components of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic plan to reflate the economy—are rampant among its citizens as well as economists, journalists and policy-makers worldwide. Even J-Pop groups are recording paeans to the economic policy named after the newly-elected premier. It is clear that “Abenomics” has been a remarkable branding success. But will it equally be an economic triumph?
We think it can be, and initial signs are positive. But such success is not assured. It will require difficult decisions as the country moves into largely uncharted territory. And much will depend on changing expectations within the country.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: Abenomics, Article IV, Bank of Japan, deflation, fiscal policy, growth, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, investment, Japan, monetary policy, public debt, quantitative easing, stimulus | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 1, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Jarkko Turunen
(Version in Español)
A year ago, we were very concerned about lingering weakness in the U.S. housing market, which we saw as a major obstacle to the economic recovery.
But what a difference a year makes! As our latest report on the U.S. economy points out, the housing market recovery has been stronger than expected, and is providing a significant boost to private domestic demand and economic growth.
What has changed in the last 12 months? House prices have rebounded sharply and are currently about 7-12 percent above their level a year ago. Home sales increased by more than 15 percent over the same time period. Thanks to higher house prices and the positive effects of government housing finance programs, fewer homeowners are “underwater” (owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth) or are behind on their mortgage payments, and fewer houses are entering foreclosure.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Employment, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Public debt | Tagged: economic growth, Federal Reserve, house prices, housing, housing indicators, housing market, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, monetary policy, mortgages, U.S., United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 30, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Deniz Igan
(Version in Español)
Much has changed on the fiscal front since we started worrying about U.S. fiscal sustainability. The federal government budget deficit has fallen sharply in recent years―from almost 12 percent of GDP in 2009 to less than 7 percent in 2012. And recent budget reports show that the deficit is shrinking faster than expected only a few months ago, to a projected 4½ percent of GDP for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. Plus, health care cost growth has slowed down dramatically since the Great Recession, alleviating the pressure on public health care programs at least temporarily.
Does this mean we can stop worrying? Not quite. Recent developments certainly mean that things are better than we thought just a few years ago and the fiscal adjustment needed to restore sustainability is smaller. But if the choice and timing of policy measures is not right, the deficit reduction may turn out to be too much in the short run—stunting the economic recovery—and not enough in the long run.
So, in our recent annual check-up of the U.S. economy, our advice is to slow the pace of fiscal adjustment this year—which would help sustain growth and job creation—but to speed up putting in place a medium-term road map to restore long-run fiscal sustainability.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Employment, Finance, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: Article IV, deficits, economic recovery, fiscal sustainability, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, public debt, United States | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 17, 2013 by iMFdirect
By: Jeffrey Hayden, Editor-in-Chief
Nazareth College was my second home. As a child, I spent countless evenings roaming the small liberal arts college in Rochester, N.Y., where my mother headed the office of graduate studies and continuing education.
Most of her students worked day jobs, attending class at night. For her, this made for late hours at the office—and for a complex juggling act: off to work in the morning to manage a staff, drop everything at 3 p.m. to rush home to fix dinner for the family, and then back to work around 5 p.m.—with me in tow—to staff the office until evening classes let out. Sleep and then repeat. This was the rhythm of my childhood.
I thought a lot about those days as we put together the special feature on women at work in this issue of F&D—about her example, and about the many women who share in her experience and the many who do not.
Filed under: Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: capital markets, China, Christine Lagarde, diversity, F&D, IMF, iMFdirect, India, International Monetary Fund, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Sebastián Sosa, Evridiki Tsounta, and Hye Sun Kim
(Versions in Español and Português)
Latin America has enjoyed strong growth during the last decade, with annual growth averaging 4½ percent compared with 2¾ in the 1980s and 1990s. What is behind this remarkable economic performance and will this growth be sustainable in the years ahead?
Our recent study (see also our working paper) looks at the supply-side drivers of growth for a large group of Latin American countries, to identify what’s behind the recent strong output performance.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Español, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: capital, employment, GDP, growth, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, Labor, Latin America, output, productivity | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2013 by iMFdirect
by Gustavo Adler and Nicolás Magud
(Versions in Español and Português)
Commodity exporting countries in Latin America have benefited strongly from the commodity price boom that began around 2002. And the accompanying improvements in public and external balance sheets have fed a sense that this time the macroeconomic response to the terms-of-trade boom has been different (and more prudent) than in past episodes. But, has it?
In our recent work, we analyze the history of Latin America’s terms-of-trade booms during 1970–2012 and quantify the associated income windfall (i.e., the extra income arising from improved terms-of-trade). We also document saving patterns during these episodes and assess the extent of the “effort” to save the income windfall.
Our findings suggest that, although the additional income shock associated to the recent terms-of-trade boom is unprecedented in magnitude, the effort to save it has been lower than in past episodes.
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, commodity exporters, commodity exports, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, investment, Latin America, Mexico, savings, trade, Venezuela | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2013 by iMFdirect
by José Viñals and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu
The global regulatory landscape governing banks has changed from its pre-crisis status quo.
In addition to the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies led global regulatory reforms, like Basel III, the United States and the United Kingdom have decided to directly impose limits on the scope of banks’ businesses. The European Union is contemplating a similar move.
We discussed these structural banking reforms a few weeks ago with officials from finance ministries, central banks, and supervisory authorities from around the world during the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings. The design and implementation of these measures will have implications for global financial stability and sustainable growth, so we wanted to bring people together for the first global debate of the issue with G20 and other countries.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Europe, Finance, Financial Crisis, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, G-20, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: banks, Basel III, European Union, financial supervisors, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, investment banks, Liikanen, regulation, structural measures, too important to fail, United Kingdom, United States, Vickers, Volcker | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Reza Moghadam
What has been the role of foreign banks in financing growth and convergence in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and how is that role changing? This is discussed in the first issue of a new series of analytical work on the region called Regional Economic Issues, which we launched at a joint IMF/Czech National Bank conference two weeks ago in Prague.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: banks, Central Europe, credit, domestic demand, eastern Europe, Europe, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund, loans, Regional Economic Outlook: Europe, Reza Moghadam, Southern Europe, subsidies | Leave a comment »